Delaware flu season starts with first case

 (photo courtesy DPH)

(photo courtesy DPH)

A chilly, rainy Wednesday seems like the appropriate setting to announce Delaware’s first confirmed case of influenza for the 2013-2014 season.

The Delaware Division of Public Health says a Wilmington woman is the first in the state to have a confirmed case of influenza.  The woman, who is between 30 and 40 years old is not hospitalized, and did not receive a flu vaccine.  There are two main types of influenza: types A and B.  The Wilmington woman contracted the A strain.

At the beginning of the month, DPH started monitoring the occurrence of flu-like symptoms in hospitals, long-term care facilities and medical clinics to watch for flu trends in the state.  So far, that monitoring does not suggest that the flu is widely circulating in Delaware.

DPH recommends all Delawareans older than six months old get a flu vaccine as soon as possible.  As part of this year’s “Get It” campaign, the state is targeting healthy 19 to 49-year-olds to get vaccinated.  People in that age bracket are most likely to skip the flu shot.

In the 2012-2013 flu season, Delaware saw more than 1,700 flu cases and four deaths.  The high number of cases coupled with a vaccine shortage caused the state to temporarily lift the ban on vaccine made with thimerosal, a preservative that contains trace amounts of mercury.

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